If you’re of a certain age and / or geographical location, then you likely rely on your local TV news station’s weather forecast. A new feature on Echo Show smart displays looks set to make it easier to watch these on demand. Amazon has partnered with local news channels to automatically surface their most recent weather news videos when you say “Alexa, what’s the weather?”
I live in a coastal city with frequent hurricane, flood, and severe weather warnings, and our local meteorologists are by far the best source of info for staying safe and dry (significantly better than any weather app — I’ve tried them all). But tuning in on the 8s isn’t always feasible (especially for cord-cutters!), and finding videos on local news station websites can be a pain.
With hurricane season fast approaching, I was excited to try this feature out. Unfortunately, local weather news videos aren’t in my city yet. But it is currently live in more than 60 cities, including New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Charlotte, Phoenix, Chicago, Milwaukee, Fresno, Omaha, Toledo, and San Antonio, Amazon spokesperson Eric Sveum told me. He did say they plan to expand the feature and are “considering offerings wherever there are local news stations.”
I was able to test it out by requesting weather in a supported city. Saying “Alexa, what’s the weather in New York City?” to an Echo Show 15 resulted in the screen displaying its usual forecast and current weather conditions and Alexa reading out the info, but now there were thumbnail videos of local forecasts from multiple news stations along the bottom.
The videos don’t autoplay, thankfully; I had to tap on one to start playing. It opened in full screen and started with the time-honored few seconds of news anchor banter with the meteorologist (yeah, I could do without that) before diving into the forecast. On some videos it wasn’t immediately clear when the video was from — a time stamp would be helpful here.
You can also access the weather without voice by tapping the Alexa weather widget, which brings up the same information screen, but without the videos. (To add a widget to a Show, swipe left from the edge of the screen and select the Widget Panel).
Sveum says the local weather news videos feature is live on Echo Show 8, Echo Show 10, Echo Show 15 devices, and is rolling out to Echo Show 5 devices.
Correction, June 23rd, 4:30 PM ET: The local weather news video feature is currently in 60 cities, not 15, and is not available on the Fire TV Omni. It can only be accessed through voice, not through the Show weather widget. We regret the error.